Heme en Aarde Wine Valley: Where Heaven & Earth Meet
Hemel-en-Aarde Wine Valley is widely recognized as one of South Africa’s most fascinating and picturesque wine regions. Many consider it a destination for outstanding, restrained, classically styled South African Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It is part of the Walker Bay “District” and consists of three contiguous “Wine Wards” behind the ancient seaside resort town of Hermanus, surrounded by natural reserves and facing the cold South Atlantic Walker Bay.
Hermanus was founded in 1815 by Hermanus Pieters, a Dutch farmer and teacher who came to the Cape. According to legend, he ‘followed a route etched by elephants’ from neighbouring Caledon to the sea, where he discovered a fresh spring.
The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, which is 15 minutes west of town, is home to the majority of Hermanus wine farms. The hills in this scenic valley, which appear to touch the sky to the point that you “cannot see anything but heaven and earth,” gave the area its Afrikaans name, which translates from Afrikaans to “Heaven and Earth” in English. The Wine Route was created by a collaboration of several farms in the Valley with the goal of showcasing wines that best reflect the region’s distinctive terroir.
The region’s first vineyards were planted here in the 1970s, and numerous others followed starting in the 1990s. The region’s most well-known grape varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, have won several national and international honours despite being relatively new to the wine world.
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